White House senior adviser Jared Kushner was one of the administration officials said to have threatened MSNBC co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough with a negative National Enquirer story if they did not contact President Trump, according to a report Friday afternoon.
In March, the two "Morning Joe" personalities were informed that their secret romantic relationship, despite both being married to other people, was about to be made public by the tabloid magazine. It's not clear if White House officials told Brzezinski and Scarborough about the pending story or if the publication contacted them for comment.
Scarborough and Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, both texted back and forth in mid-April about the coming story. Kushner told Scarborough he would have to personally apologize to Trump to keep Enquirer owner David Pecker from running the piece, according to New York Magazine.
The tabloid published the story June 5.
On Friday morning, after a tense past 24 hours following Trump's first lashing out at Brzezinski and Scarborough, the co-hosts published an op-ed in the Washington Post that mentioned the Enquirer incident.
On their morning show, they offered new details about the "blackmail" attempt by the White House, as Brzezinski called it.
Enquirer editor Dylan Howard denied the collusion with the White House. "We have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story, and absolutely no involvement in those discussions."
Trump insists Scarborough apologized, while Scarborough said he has messages to prove the White House threats.
"Watched low rated @Morning_Joe for first time in long time. FAKE NEWS. He called me to stop a National Enquirer article. I said no! Bad show," Trump tweeted.
"Yet another lie. I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven't spoken with you in many months," Scarborough wrote.